If you have an adolescent, chances are that they see nearly everything as an opportunity for a negotiation.
"Can I go to the movie?"
"But, I promise to....everyone else...." and on and on. What seems like a simple, declarative sentence to you seems like an invitation to an extended debate with an adolescent. It can be exhausting.
Over the years, I have come up with various ways of addressing this at home or school. One of my favorite lines came from my boss. He simply said, "You're mistaking this for a discussion. The answer is 'no'."
I always liked that, but I found one lately that works beautifully. I've tried it at home with younger kids and at school with my adolescents. I got it from Lynn Lott and it is so easy. When the child comes back at you, you say, "Did you ask that already?"
"And did I answer it?"
"Okay then, asked and answered."
You have to do this one time. After that, anytime they try the same behavior, you say, "Asked and answered."
I read about this on a blog post somewhere and was skeptical that it would work with some of the world-class debaters I have at home and school. But I tried it, and it was really quite amazing. I've been trying it now for a few weeks and it continues to work.
So, I'm very happy to pass this on. Good luck!
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Thoughts about raising and teaching adolescents. You can read the complete series here. (What in the world are Middle School Mondays?) Click here.
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